The latest meeting of my writer’s group, The Purple Pros, was rich with splendid conversation about art, poetry, literature and theatre. In my update I mentioned how after 24 years of passionate—one might almost say obsessive—writing, teaching and speaking, I’ve been in a semi-fallow period since my last book came out. Little green shoots are popping up here and there, but as yet I have no clear direction. Lenny spoke of how various challenges and life changes leave her with little time to work on her long play and the four short ones she wants to start. What with Margie newly remarried after years of non-stop writing, speaking, and presenting, it quickly became apparent that we had found our theme for the meeting: the transition from our highly productive and creative middle years into the autumns of our lives.
For her writing activity, Margie had synchronistically chosen the same theme. She told us about visiting the Tate Museum’s exhibition of the cut-out art of Henri Matisse on her honeymoon. Bedridden and wheelchair-bound in the last decade of his life, Matisse was too frail to stand up or hold a brush for long. So, still driven to create by his daemon—in classical mythology a daemon was a benevolent semi-divine nature spirit who drives humans forward and upward—his new medium became colored paper and his tool, scissors. Margie shared some questions she’s been pondering since then and suggested we address any that appealed to us.
Two questions interested me: “Why is it important to re-invent myself at this stage of life?” and “What qualities would enable the reinvention of my craft?” Since crossroads and transitions are common to all at crucial times in our lives, I decided to share my musings here. A thought: If our daemons drive us to pursue and perfect our passions, our musings/muses infuse them with inspiration and creativity. After all, my musings on Margie’s incisive questions inspired this new post at a time when I’ve been writing less than usual.
So, “Why is it important to reinvent myself at this stage of life?” Because I may have completed my previous stage, but I’m not finished for good. My life is a miraculous gift, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m not ready to sit on the riverbank watching the rest of it flow past. I don’t want to leave without having made all the contributions that my driven daemon, creative muse and unique soul can make. I may not be Henri Matisse or Virginia Woolfe but I am Jean Raffa!
“What qualities would enable the reinvention of my craft?” Yes, writing is my craft, but so is my life. My ultimate mission is to make of myself and my life a work of art: something beautiful, original and meaningful, something that nourishes the growth not only of my soul but of others. As I wrote my answer to this question I recognized five qualities that have helped me reinvent myself and will continue to do so:
- Attention: Staying aware of my inner and outer life—what I’m feeling, sensing, intuiting, doing, and finding fulfilling and meaningful—in service to self-knowledge, authenticity and consciousness.
- Acceptance: Releasing my resistance to things I can’t control or change.
- Appreciation: Being grateful for whatever happens inside and outside of me, not just what I consider positive, but also what I’m inclined to view as negative, in the knowledge that every particle of life is valuable, necessary and instructive to my soul.
- Assimilation: Consciously integrating my experiences and perceptions into a growing and changing life stream of creative energy that keeps me moving forward.
- Action: Manifesting my soul’s creativity in my writing, loving and living so that my offerings will make a healing difference.
So far I’ve chosen to be a friend, wife, teacher, mother, Episcopal church-goer, homemaker, carpool driver, community volunteer, television producer, graduate student, college professor, vision quester, dream worker, shadow-tamer, author, workshop leader, social media networker, and music maker. Lately I hear the call to reinvent myself again. I don’t know what choices I’ll make or how they’ll turn out, but then I never did. What I do know is that my daemon, muse, soul and I intend to keep reinventing our life until this one ends and the next begins.
Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Ebook versions of The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and Diesel Ebooks